Theriot Family Dental

A Dental Flipper for a Preschooler?

Posted by writeradmin

My three-year-old lost his two front teeth due to an accident. I”m a bit worried about his teeth shifting. We did have a pediatric dentist, but he recently sold his practice and is now in enjoying the high life of retirement. Unfortunately, the man who now runs his practice is not nearly as helpful. When I brought up needing to replace my son’s teeth with a flipper he actually laughed at me and then patronizingly said, “You’d better leave the dental decisions to the professionals, hon.” He literally called me hon! Even his assistant looked at me sympathetically. It was humiliating. I left determined never to come back. But, here I am with a three-year-old who has no front teeth. I’m worried the other teeth will start shifting because I read somewhere that can happen. I tried to find one online but they are all for adults. Do you have any advice for me?


Dear Pamela,

Smiling boy with a toothbrush

I can tell you are a good mother and you are worried about your son’s teeth. The good news is him losing his front teeth early will not cause the shifting you read about. It is when his back molars come out prematurely that there is a problem. The reason for that is those back teeth have to stay in place until his twelve-year-old molars develop and are ready to erupt. The front teeth will come in much sooner, so his bite will not be impacted.

The way your new dentist treated you, however, is unacceptable. His job is to help you understand the options for your son and why. As the mother, you need to know what is best for your child. Just “leaving it to the professionals” may be okay sometimes, but ultimately you are the one responsible for making the best decisions for your family. I am going to highly suggest you find a new pediatric dentist for your son. Preferably, one who is willing to answer as many questions as you have.

If your son would have lost a back tooth, the best option would be a space maintainer, not a dental flipper. This is because the flipper is removable and could become a choking hazard. A space maintainer is a more age-appropriate solution.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.